Photo: Illustration. Image Courtesy: The Ocean Cleanup

TeamSeas ocean-trash cleanup campaign raises $30M

Hundreds of the internet’s biggest influencers and 600,000 donors are celebrating the success of #TeamSeas, a crowdfunding campaign to raise $30M by 1 January in order to remove 30M pounds of trash from oceans, rivers and beaches around the world.

For every $1 raised, TeamSeas and its nonprofit partners, Ocean Conservancy and The Ocean Cleanup, will remove one pound.

The $30M raise equates to cleaning up 30 million pounds of trash and plastic.

TeamSeas-funded cleanup operations are already underway and are projected to last three years. The charity crowdfunding campaign was founded by YouTubers MrBeast aka Jimmy Donaldson, ex-NASA engineer Mark Rober and campaign director Matt Fitzgerald. Their 2019 collaboration, #TeamTrees, raised $20M to plant 20M trees on six continents.

As informed, the new campaign reached its $30M goal in the final hours of New Year’s Day, when tech entrepreneur Austin Russell donated $4M to push the fundraiser across the finish line.

TeamSeas donors hail from 191 countries and span multiple generations. The campaign received notable support from kids who donated their allowance, fundraised from the hospital, and organized bakesales at school, among others.

Photo: TeamSeas

After a launch on 29 October, TeamSeas raised $8M in its first 48 hours and trended #1 on both Twitter and YouTube in the United States.

All the money raised by TeamSeas is split 50/50 between its two not-for-profit implementation partners. Ocean Conservancy is the official partner for beaches and oceans. Half of the donations ($15M to date) will fund global beach cleanups, as well as the removal of abandoned fishing ‘ghost gear’ from the ocean.

“This is the start, not the end, of a journey of ocean conservation and advocacy for so many. Together with our partners, we will deliver on our promise to remove 15 million pounds of trash from beaches and seas around the world, while working to reduce plastics and keep them out of the ocean in the first place,” Janis Jones, CEO of Ocean Conservancy, said.

For rivers, the campaign’s official partner is The Ocean Cleanup.

“With the money raised, The Ocean Cleanup pledges to intercept 15 million pounds of trash from rivers, preventing it from ending up in the oceans,” Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO, commented.

TeamSeas funds will support new deployments and extended operation of The Ocean Cleanup’s Interceptor solutions, including the iconic vessels Rober referred to as ‘trash-eating robots’, such as the one installed in the Rio Ozama in the Dominican Republic.

TeamSeas, The Ocean Cleanup, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) intend to scale up the operational model exemplified in the DR to more of the 1% of rivers responsible for 80% of the trash flowing into the ocean from rivers.